Larry Page leads as first witness in Oracle, Google IP trial

Google's defense team reiterates in opening statements that both the Java language and related APIs were free to use for Android.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Following Google's opening statements on Tuesday morning, Google CEO Larry Page was announced as the first witness in the company's patent and copyright trial against Oracle.

Presented at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Page's testimony was actually a video from his deposition on August 24, 2011.

See also: Oracle reveals Java copyright case against Google (gallery)

Oracle attorney David Boies focused on a particular presentation on July 25, 2005, listing "Must take license from Sun" as one of the bullet points of the agenda.

The argument back and forth between Boies and Page was to determine whether or not this presentation was written and led by Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile at Google (a.k.a. the father of Android), and his team.

To back up Oracle's argument over whether or not Google executives discussed Java-related licenses, Boies presented this email sent from Rubin to Page shortly after the meeting:

My proposal is that we take a license that's specifically grants the right for us to open source our product. We'll pay Sun for the licensee and the TCK. Before we release our product to open source community we'll make sure our JVM (Java Virtual Machine) passes all TCK certification tests so that we don't create fragmentation. Before a product gets brought to market a manufacturer will have to be a Sun licensee, pay appropriate royalties, and pass the TCK again.

Sun has already permitted open source VM projects in non mobile areas -- areas where they didn't have a well defined revenue stream. Apache is an example.

Although Page couldn't identify what TCK stood for, the next witness to take the stand, CEO Larry Ellison, identified this as a compatibility test for Java programs.

When asked if there were discussions in 2005 and 2006 between Sun and Google "to transfer a license," Page hesitated, saying that he remembered "that there were deals discussed where we were going to make payment to Sun that involved a variety of terms." Yet Page couldn't recall any specifics about these licenses and terms.

Furthermore, Page and Boies disputed over the definition of a platform, and if Android and Java could both be defined as platforms.

Page wavered back and forth about Java being a platform, saying that "platform is a term that is hazy in my mind."

"People would commonly assume Java is a platform," Page explained. "I think Android is clearly a platform."

Nevertheless, Page did admit during one point in questioning that Java is "many things" including both a language and a platform.



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